Indian design engineering company Cades Digitech is discussing with Dutch firm Rekkof the possible re-start of Fokker 70 and 100 regional jet aircraft production in India.
Cades Digitech managing director and CEO Dataram Mishra says from Bangalore that talks began with Rekkof “7-8 months ago and we have had 2-3 rounds of meetings”.
He says no agreements have been reached and he acknowledges that many others have looked at re-starting production only to decide against it, but talks are continuing on possible licence-production of revamped versions of the Fokker regional jet types in India.
“It has not come to an advanced stage but we have done an evaluation and the talks are still going on,” says Mishra.
“There is some interest [in Fokker aircraft] in India. There are airlines and there are government requirements as well.”
Mishra says that “we would have to make it for the overseas market as well to be viable” and improvements would have to be made to the original design to reduce operating costs.
“The Fokker aircraft are now in the last stage of their life cycle,” he adds.
Rekkof has for years been trying to re-start production of the Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 regional jets. Manufacturer Fokker Aircraft went bankrupt in 1996 and the production lines closed in 1997.
Established by Jaap Rosen Jacobson, the chairman of Belgian airline VLM, Rekkof bought production tooling for the Fokker 70 and 100 and over the years it has held talks with several other potential buyers, including those in China and South Korea. No deals were ever finalised, however.
Rekkof officials could not be reached for comment on talks with Bangalore-headquartered Cades Digitech, which focuses on design engineering for the aerospace and automotive sectors.
Mishra says the company has been growing rapidly since it was established five years ago and it now has 350 employees. He says this will increase to 500 by the end of the year and will double to 1,000 by the end of next year.
He says the company works extensively with India’s state-owned aerospace manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics and has contracts with international manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing.
It is majority owned by Nadathur Holdings and Investments, which is controlled by NS Raghavan, a co-founder of Indian IT giant Infosys.